Vietnamese food in Cabramatta
Cabramatta is home to Australia’s largest Vietnamese community and as a result, its streets are lined with traditional Vietnamese eateries. You can join a guided tour to get the inside story on the food and culture here, or explore the area yourself. Make sure you try a bowl of pho (beef noodle soup).
With origins reaching back to an early settlemt established in 1814, Cabramatta has evolved into a rich mix of multicultural influences. From a substantial European influx in the 1950s to the growth of its South East Asian community in the 1970s, this area draws from a rich and diverse range of heritages.
Today Cabramatta is sometimes celebrated for being Sydney’s ‘little Saigon’, renowned for its abundant and highly revered Vietnamese food. Most restaurants have their own specialties or signature dish. Try the goi cuon (fresh rice paper rolls) at Phu Quoc, or the banh xeo (crispy herb and bean sprout filled pancakes) at Thanh Bin. Don’t forget to order a bowl of warming pho (delicately flavoured beef noodle soup with rice noodles and fresh herbs), one of the area’s most well-known delicacies. There are also Chinese, Thai, Laotian and Cambodian restaurants to try. Check out such regular eateries as Iron Chef Chinese, Golden Harvest and Holy Basil. You’ll definitely get bang for your buck here, so be sure to arrive hungry.
With its vibrant market atmosphere, shopping is also a major attraction. Less than an hour by train from the city, Cabramatta makes for a fantastic urban day trip. Along the main thoroughfare of John Street, which runs west from Cabramatta Station, there are a plethora of shops. There are also many arcades and alleys around Freedom Plaza, the lively hub in the centre of the town, packed with things to see, do, buy and eat. It’s a great place to grab some fresh produce; the usual fruit, vegetables, fish and meat are on offer, but also exotic fruits, fragrant asian herbs and other specialty items. If you’re not sure about a particular ingredient, just ask; shopkeepers and locals are often more than happy to explain how they can be used.
If you’re not sure where to start, sign up for a Cabramatta food tour. On Maeve O'Meara’s Gourmet Safari you’ll learn about Vietnamese food and culture, try vibrant Vietnamese dishes and meet the locals, and of course tuck into a delicious lunch. Or join the I ate my way through walking tour and progressive lunch, which introduces you to the area's main food shopping precincts and eateries. After lunch, you will be shown how to shop like a resident foodie.
Besides food, Cabramatta also offers a huge range of exotic fabrics and haberdashery - high quality and reasonably priced. Much like the restaurants of Cabramatta, many stores have a particular niche, which could be anything from curtain and tablecloth fabrics, to fine lace, to cheery cotton prints. It’s definitely worth checking out, and for those keen on sewing, it's a fabric bargain hunters paradise.